Georgia’s Secure, Verifiable Paper Ballot System prepped to build on successes of 2020 and 2022 Elections
Atlanta – Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s Elections Division announced on a call with county election officials the plan and timeline of security preparations for the upcoming Presidential Election Year.
Blake Evans, Georgia’s Elections Director stated on the call, “I don’t think there is a more tested voting system in the country than the one we have in Georgia. We passed every test after a close presidential race in 2020, including a hand-audit and a full recount. And it passed every test in high-profile elections in 2022 as well.” He said this while informing the counties that the state would be doing system security “Health Checks” in all 159 counties.
The system health check will examine election management systems, ballot marking devices, and scanners. It will include verifying HASH values to verify that the software has not been changed and remains the Democracy Suite 5.5A. The HASH values should match the original value from when the software and hardware were accepted by the state.
Mr. Evans also announced that Secretary Raffensperger’s office is coordinating with the Department of Homeland Security to conduct physical site security assessments of the storage and warehousing of all election equipment in each county.
The office also announced that there will be pilots of the recently Election Assistance Commission-certified version of Democracy Suite, 5.17, in 2023. This software has not been deployed in any election in any jurisdiction as of yet. The pilots will examine its full functionality in a real-world setting. Also, in reviewing the processes it will require an update of the nearly 45,000 pieces of voting equipment, along with the subsequent acceptance testing. This process will take tens of thousands of manhours. Therefore, the statewide move to 5.17 will occur following the 2024 election cycle. This will allow the state and counties to focus on executing municipal elections and running the Presidential cycle. It also allows the state to put together a thoughtful, thorough plan to roll out the latest software.
“Election deniers and those with similar claims in the courts may want us to irresponsibly move faster to make this change”, said Raffensperger. “However, I have told our team we will move in a responsible, deliberate, and mature way that will put the needs of voters and our election workers first. I’m an engineer. To build a solid structure, you need a strong well laid foundation. That is what this plan does.”